Spinal cord injuries are serious injuries causing damage to the body’s central nervous system. The central nervous system is responsible for sending messages between the brain and the rest of the body. Spinal cord injuries impact the brain’s ability to send messages to body parts and can result in loss of motor skills, physical control, or paralysis. Devastating and life-changing, if a spinal cord injury occurs due to someone’s actions, either intentional or accidental, you deserve compensation for your damages.
Staples, Ellis + Associates, P.A., is a personal injury law firm with a reputation for recovering for our clients. Our attorneys are experts in personal injury lawsuits and have a track record of recovering in the case of a devastating injury. Our attorneys have what it takes to help you recover from your injuries.
How Can You Recover from a Spinal Cord Injury?
If someone else caused a spinal cord injury, you might have a legal claim against that person. In Florida, injured parties may recover for intentional and accidental harms through civil lawsuits. Although many personal injury cases settle out of court without a judge or jury’s involvement, you may still have to file a lawsuit to force a settlement.
Lawsuits for harmful actions are separated into two categories: intentionally harmful actions and accidental or negligent actions.
An intentional tort is an action that is done for the purpose of bringing about harm to another person. Examples include hitting or punching someone, attacking someone with an object, or purposefully damaging someone’s property. Florida law recognizes intentional harms under a cause of action for battery. Committing battery is causing contact with another person with the intent to cause serious bodily harm. Many forms of battery, such as a fight, can result in spinal cord damage. Damages for battery may include medical bills, lost wages, and a negative impact on the quality of life.
Accidental harms are recognized under the legal theory of negligence, or another person’s failure to act reasonably under the circumstances, which causes harm or injury to someone. Examples of accidents caused by someone’s negligence include car accidents, slip and fall cases, sporting injuries, and medical malpractice. If a spinal cord injury occurs due to someone else’s negligence, you can also recover damages. To recover, you must meet the elements of negligence, which requires showing another person owed you a duty to act reasonably toward you, that person failed to live up to his or her duty, the person’s failure actually caused your injury, and you suffered an injury as a result.
How Much Can I Recover?
How much you can recover in a civil lawsuit depends on the injury suffered. In civil cases, the amount of damages is usually determined by how much it will cost to make the injured party whole. This includes payment of medical bills and for the cost of damage to property. Where it is impossible to make a plaintiff whole again, such as when an accident causes paralysis, damages may include amounts to compensate for this additional loss, such as lack of future earnings or loss of enjoyment of life.
In other cases, where the accident or intentional injury was particularly egregious, recovery may include punitive damages. Punitive damages are an amount determined by the court meant to punish the defendant for the acts that led to the injury. For example, a trucking company responsible for an accident caused by a sleep-deprived truck driver might be required to pay punitive damages if its policies encouraged driver’s not to take mandatory breaks.
How Does Insurance Play into Damages?
Most of the time, when an accident or injury occurs, the defendant is insured. Although insurance policies often state they do not cover intentional acts, insurance is made for accidental cases. For example, if a spinal cord injury results from an automobile accident, the negligent driver’s automobile insurance company will likely step in to defend the driver and payout any claims against the driver.
If an insurance company gets involved, the company will most likely try to settle the case out of court for as little as possible. Insurance companies want to minimize expenses, which means paying out little and avoiding attorneys’ fees. Once an injured party signs a settlement agreement, he or she is generally unable to pursue any additional damages than those considered in the agreement. Although accepting a quick settlement gets you paid faster, you often leave money on the table. If an insurance company makes a settlement offer, you should consult with a personal injury attorney to confirm the offer will fully compensate you for your damages.
Consult with a Florida Personal Injury Attorney to Discuss Your Spinal Cord Injury Claims
Spinal cord injuries can be devastating, life-long injuries that deprive you of the ability to earn a living and live life. If you’ve suffered a spinal cord injury caused by someone else, you may be able to recover for damages. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Staples, Ellis + Associates, P.A.can assist in quantifying your damages and recovering for them in court. Contact Staples, Ellis + Associates, P.A. to discuss your case today.